What is Sound, and How Can You Reduce It?

Many manufacturing plants have a strong focus on safety for their workers.  One major safety concern that is commonly overlooked is noise.   Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has a directive that defines the noise exposure over a time-weighted average; 29CFR 1910.95(a).   For an eight-hour day, the maximum noise level is 90 dBA.  The Center for Disease Control, CDC, reports that “approximately 18% of all manufacturing workers have hearing difficulty”1.

What is sound?  In the simplest of terms, a decibel is one-tenth of a bel.  Historically, bel was a unit created to honor Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone.  Like the frequency waves that travel through telephone wires, pressure waves travel through the air as sound.  This sound pressure is what our ears can detect as loudness.  EXAIR offers a Digital Sound Level Meter, model 9104, that is calibrated and can measure sound in decibels.  It is very important to know the sound level, as it can permanently damage your ears.

Here is a test for you.  If you go and stand in your plant, you can probably hear loud noises coming from your compressed air system.  EXAIR has an engineered product to solve most of them.  On the Hierarchy of Controls for NIOSH, Personal Protection Equipment, PPE, is the least effective.  A better control would be to isolate your operators from the hazard with an engineered product.  EXAIR can offer that solution for many of your blow-offs and pneumatic discharges to reduce noise levels.  This would include; but not be limited to; Super Air Nozzles, Safety Air Guns, Super Air Knives, and Super Air Amplifiers

Let’s look at a ¼” open copper tube.  It can create a sound level of over 100 dBA.  They are commonly used because they are readily available and inexpensive to make.  But they waste a lot of compressed air, as well as creating a hazard for your operators.  Just by adding a model 1100 Super Air Nozzle to the end of the copper tube, we can reduce the noise level to 74 dBA at 80 PSIG (5.5 bar).  Wow!  Not only will it remove the hazard, but it will reduce the amount of compressed air usage; saving you money.  Here is a quick video to show the importance of the EXAIR Super Air Nozzles.

At EXAIR, we have a statement, “Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”  EXAIR manufactures engineered products with high quality, safety, and efficiency in mind.  To keep your operators safe, EXAIR offers many different types of blow-off products that are designed to decrease noise to a safe level.  So, here’s to Alexander Graham Bell for creating the telephone, which you can use to contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We will be happy to help to reduce your sound levels. 

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Note 1: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ohl/manufacturing.html